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Smitten with Smith? - Warning - Kevin Acee

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by wrbanwal, Apr 18, 2010.

  1. wrbanwal

    wrbanwal Well-Known Member

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    :lol:

    Pretty good article, nothing surprising. I'm getting pretty tired of hearing about this year being a push year for so & so...

    And every year we read this same suck up job I get more impaient with the "wait & see" mantra

    But overall, it's a good time being a Charger fan!

    :bolt:


    http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2010/apr/18/smitten-with-smith/


    Meticulous planning, deliberate action all in a day’s work for Chargers GM


    Both because the upcoming draft is his favorite time of year and because Thursday marks the anniversary of his hiring as the Chargers general manager, now is as good a time as any to examine the unfolding legacy of A.J. Smith.

    Smith’s five-year contract extension, awarded in 2008, officially commenced this past Feb 1. Smith’s 61st birthday was on the final day of that month.

    We are in the midst of his reign, also in a period of newness, yet with an end perhaps in sight.

    His successor, as well as that of his boss, is already in the building in the persons of John and A.G. Spanos, sons of team President Dean Spanos. But Smith is firmly in charge of the Chargers’ football operations, and he may or may not retire when his contract expires after the 2014 season.

    For now and for the foreseeable future, Smith sits at the head of the table inside the team’s draft war room. He takes input from his staff on all issues and ultimately answers to Dean Spanos, but Smith makes the moves. He has molded this team, rebuilt it again and again, and will continue to do so until he ultimately succeeds or fails to reach his goals.

    Oh, and he has goals — big ones, just like every successful player and coach and businessman and leader there has ever been.

    Smith had those goals since the day he was appointed general manager in 2003, succeeding his longtime friend and boss, John Butler, who had just succumbed to cancer.

    Brace yourself.

    “When I was hired I had two personal goals that I wanted to achieve,” Smith said recently. “Become the winningest general manager in Chargers history and help us win two Super Bowls. It is my total focus and drives me every day.”

    Some might cringe when they read that. Some might even laugh.

    He is well on his way to having more wins than any Chargers GM, his 71 regular-season victories in seven seasons being 23 fewer than what Sid Gillman amassed as head coach and general manager over 12 seasons.

    But to speak of two Super Bowls?

    The nerve! After all the playoff failures, the sting of the most recent one still so fresh!

    Stop. If anyone expected anything else from Smith, they haven’t been paying very good attention during his tenure.

    He traded Junior Seau. He drafted Eli Manning. He called out Philip Rivers’ agent when the rookie QB was not signed three weeks into training camp. He made mincemeat of Antonio Gates’ unfortunately inexperienced agent in 2005 and essentially suspended Gates for that season’s opener.

    There was the public flogging of Donnie Edwards. There was an unfortunate quote about LaDainian Tomlinson in 2009 and a deliberate quote in defense of his team and in response to Tomlinson just this month. And there is so much more, both that we do and don’t know about.

    The man runs the Chargers the way Alexander the Great ran his armies – with meticulous planning and then deliberate action that has no mercy and makes no apologies.

    Smith has his detractors, to put it politely.

    “I don’t know too many people who have a kind word for him,” one very prominent agent said recently.

    But take it from someone who speaks regularly with all parties, no one is willing to cross him.

    Mock him if you will, but Smith fears nothing. (Just one example: You don’t move up in a draft to select Jacob Hester if you fear what people will think.)

    Days before his appointment as GM even became official, Smith proclaimed in a 2003 news conference: “This is the big push year for this organization. We’ve got to go over the top. We’ve got to win a bunch of games and go to the playoffs and chase the championship.”

    That statement haunted him for almost two years.

    In Smith’s first year as GM, the Chargers extended their run of seasons without a winning record to eight. Between 1996 and 2003, the franchise’s 43-85 record was one game better than the Bengals’ league-worst mark during that span. The Chargers and Bengals were the only teams to not make the postseason in any of those eight seasons.

    After that first year, in which the Chargers went 4-12 and Smith used the first pick in the 2004 draft to pull off a trade that brought the Chargers a franchise quarterback and several draft picks that turned into core players, a franchise was remade practically overnight.

    When the Chargers went to the playoffs after the 2004 season, just 15 players were on the roster who had been there prior to Smith taking over.

    Six years later, the Chargers and Colts are the only teams to have been to the playoffs each of the past four seasons. The Chargers are the only team to play in a divisional-round game each of the past four postseasons.

    Just three players who were part of the 13-3 team of 2009 were not brought to San Diego by Smith. Two of those (Tomlinson and Jamal Williams) are gone; only long snapper David Binn predates Smith.

    In his image, Smith has turned one of the NFL’s biggest losers into one of its most consistent winners.

    Still, Smith is the first to acknowledge he hasn’t accomplished anything.

    In fact, those were his exact words in a recent conversation:

    “We haven’t accomplished anything.”

    He means that for all the regular-season success, the Chargers have yet to win a Super Bowl. They have yet to even play in one under his direction. They made it to the AFC Championship Game just once (in 2007) and have lost in the first round three times in their five playoff trips since 2004.

    While Smith is prone to platitudes as well as repetition, and he certainly knows the politically correct thing to say even if he doesn’t always say it, that admission is not lip service. But he quickly points out that it’s too soon to truly judge his work.

    Indeed, draft week is the ideal time to take a look at Smith’s machinations.

    A grand total of 10 current Chargers were not brought in via either the draft or signed as undrafted rookie free agents. It is likely that only one projected starter in 2010 (inside linebacker Kevin Burnett) will have arrived as a veteran free agent.

    Counting Rivers, who was acquired from the New York Giants on draft day in 2004, Smith has drafted eight players who went on to be Pro Bowlers. Add to that number undrafted free agents Kris Dielman, Antonio Gates and Kassim Osgood. Those are numbers unmatched by any other current GM.

    Yet the architects of the Steelers, Patriots, Colts and Saints get to walk past a Lombardi Trophy their teams won in the past six years every day they come to work. :icon_evil::icon_evil::icon_evil:

    So, too, there is no other team that has had their past three first-round draft picks make just three starts, as Smith’s past three top selections have combined for.
    :icon_evil::icon_evil::icon_evil:

    Buster Davis was the 30th overall pick in 2007. Injuries have limited him to 30 receptions in three seasons.

    Antoine Cason was the 27th pick in 2008. It was expected he would bide his time behind Antonio Cromartie, and he has. Cason’s 2009 season featured his mostly being benched, though he is expected to start in ’10.

    Larry English, last year’s 16th pick, was also destined to be a role player. But there is much expected from a player taken in the first half of the first round, and English started two games and had just two sacks as a rookie, although he was a step away from several others.

    Smith is monitoring Davis and believes 2010 is a crucial year for his future with the Chargers, but he remains high on him. He believes judging the other two is extremely premature.

    “I think they’re outstanding players that are extremely talented,” he said of his most recent trio of first-rounders. “I know when you have a first-round draft pick, people want immediate impact. Sometimes, it takes awhile for certain players.”

    So, especially at this time of year, Smith’s legacy might best be summed up in these words: Wait and see.

    Smith is fine with that, even if his perspective is different than those who evidently consider the lack of a Super Bowl trophy in the Chargers Park lobby to mean future failure is inevitable.

    If someone has sat in Smith’s office more than once, they have likely heard more than once a variation of his mantra that in order to win a championship a team has to get to the playoffs.

    “From Day One, I had the vision that the Chargers would always be looked at as an elite organization that are winners and capable of winning a world championship, a team that is playoff-caliber on a yearly basis,” he said. “I had a vision that all NFL teams would respect and fear us as a constant threat to their own success.”

    Some might be surprised at the frequency with which Smith praises and thanks Dean Spanos in conversations he knows Spanos will never hear. Smith is being sincere, perhaps because he knows it takes a certain kind of owner (one with minimal ego who lets his employees do their jobs) to work with him.

    There are, too, rare times in conversation that Smith’s ubiquitous confidence-bordering-on-arrogance gives way to vulnerability.

    The former high school gym teacher, who spent his first 25 years in the NFL working in the shadows, is no different than most of the world’s other successful narcissists.

    “I’m motivated by fear of failure,” he said recently. “I don’t want to be the GM of a losing organization. I don’t want to lead this organization down a dead-end street … Dean Spanos gave me an opportunity. He had great faith in me, and I’m determined to not disappoint him and his family.”
     
  2. CoronaDoug

    CoronaDoug Well-Known Member

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    "His successor, as well as that of his boss, is already in the building in the persons of John and A.G. Spanos, sons of team President Dean Spanos."



    AJ Hurry up! Once you are gone we are back in the doghouse!!!
     
  3. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

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    AJ & the Spanos family in general need to put up or STFU.

    I'm pretty tired of hearing what a great GM AJ is & how the Spanos' family runs such a fine organization. :icon_evil:

    I'm well aware that there are 32 teams in the mix for the Lombardi every year & there can be only 1 winner. It doesn't mean that I have to like listening to how AJ has a plan, that he prefers to build through the draft, that it's about consistency, we're loaded with talent, blah frigging blah blah blah.

    If he's such a hot **** talent evaluator, where's the ring? That evaluation should include not just players but staff as well. I'm not interested in his personal legacy - I want to see this ENTIRE organization, from the ball boy up, grab their jocks & get it done. Excuses be damned - win or STFU about how talented we are, your plan, etc.

    To date, your plan has worked to win division championships, AJ. Period. Not good enough. Put your ego on the back burner & get it done or admit that YOU'RE not good enough & GTFO. Quit reaching for picks that may pan out & draft the BPA. Stop looking for the next "late round gem" to stroke your ego & get a guy who has proven he can play.

    The window may not be closing on this team (I hate that saying :icon_evil: ) but the window, IMO, IS closing on support for this team getting a new stadium in San Diego. People support a winner. Yes, we're winning - until it's playoff time. Even the great Peyton Manning gets dissected for putting up regular season wins but having a meh post-season record.

    Until I see a Lombardi in the hands of this organization, AJ's legacy will be much like Marty's - turned the team into a winner but not champions. I'll bet THAT comparison would go straight up his egotistical ***. :icon_twisted:
     
  4. HEXEDBOLT

    HEXEDBOLT Don't like it, lump it!!!

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    Y'all get into all this BS concerning the team, who ****, who farted and who just smells like it. I don't care for any of that, all I want is a Lombardi for the Bolt's. I don't care how we get it, folk's call the Pat's "cheaters" so what they have the "GOLD", we have nothing except for an AFL Championship that most of y'all have no clue about. Win a Lombardi damn it.
     
  5. MasterOfPuppets

    MasterOfPuppets Charger fan since 1979

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    seems to me that you wrote your preconcieved response without reading the article, your thought might be valid but they don't responde to the article (where AJ admits that the team has accomplish nothing)
     
  6. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

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    I read it a couple of times. AJ Smith is a lying fu.ck when he says that he DOESN'T think his **** doesn't stink. :yes:
     
  7. NORV4LIFE

    NORV4LIFE NO MORE NORV!!!!!

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    Remember we did have to contend with this in 06...
    [​IMG]
     
  8. wrbanwal

    wrbanwal Well-Known Member

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    where do you come up with these pictures?

    :lol:
     
  9. Brundlefly

    Brundlefly Well-Known Member

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    I'm gonna nitpick here, but I don't think night vision goggles would help to video tape signal/give an advantage during the day :p
     
  10. MasterOfPuppets

    MasterOfPuppets Charger fan since 1979

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    've read many times quotes from AJ (including this article) where he critizeses his own lack of accomplishments
     
  11. HollywoodLeo

    HollywoodLeo Well-Known Member

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    Have you actually met AJ Smith? Or are you drawing a conclusion on what you perceive to be his character based on random sports articles written by people not named AJ Smith and spurious quotations and perhaps a few press conferences?
     
  12. charger1993

    charger1993 bad motherfucker

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    how do i post my own thread
     
  13. wrbanwal

    wrbanwal Well-Known Member

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    ??

    uhh

    click "new thread"

    :icon_shrug:
     
  14. charger1993

    charger1993 bad motherfucker

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    i cant find any of that ie been searchin for it like a mug
     
  15. szarmes

    szarmes I am the Walrus

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    dude go to bolttalk.net/forums
    click Chargers and NFL Forum,
    scroll down a little and below the "Smack Talk" thread there is a button that says New Thread. Voila! :tup:
     
  16. HollywoodLeo

    HollywoodLeo Well-Known Member

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  17. wrbanwal

    wrbanwal Well-Known Member

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    :lol:

    I gotta check in more often

    :lol:
     
  18. charger1993

    charger1993 bad motherfucker

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    thank you
     
  19. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

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    No I haven't met him. But he says one year that we're loaded with talent & on the verge, then the next he says he'd sign a big FA if he thought we were only a player or 2 away? Which is it? Or does it change based upon which way the wind blew the year before?

    As for drawing conclusions, I've seen all of us, including you, draw conclusions about players & FO personnel w/o having met them, so don't get on your freaking high horse with me.

    Again I'll ask - Marty got us in a winning mode as well, but couldn't get us over the hump for a championship. Do you think AJ would like that comparison? I see no difference.
     
  20. HollywoodLeo

    HollywoodLeo Well-Known Member

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    I'm not trying to be on a high horse, I just have a pet peeve when it comes to drawing conclusions about people's personalities when we have not even met these people, especially when it comes to AJ Smith because he seems to be a constant target for this sort of conclusion-jumping.

    Have I done it on occasion? Perhaps. I'm not perfect and I do jump to conclusions myself on occasion. But more often than not I'm the one telling others that we don't really know what the person is like. Don't believe me, do a post search and find pretty much any thread that involves me and someone talking about how much of an egomaniac AJ supposedly is.

    I just find it kinda funny that you blatantly tell everyone that AJ is lying when he says something about his own personality because you somehow know he thinks his proverbial **** doesn't stink. But that is why I posed the questions. How do you know he's lying? What are you basing this assessment on? Are random quotes and opinion pieces enough to draw an adequate conclusion on a person's character? Or do you actually have to get to know the person?

    And, for the record, AJ could be an egomaniac for all I know. I'm not the one pretending to know him, what he's like, and whether or not he's lying about his own ego.
     
  21. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

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    OK, perhaps you're right. Here's what I base my egomaniac opinion upon ....

    The way that he has dealt with many of our players, even a guy who certainly appears to be anything but a diva like Gates.

    Reaching for guys with limited talent like Hester & Weddle.

    Appearing to look for these late round "gems" when there are players on the board with at least some body of work.

    Having a pretty open feud with Marty about the correct direction for the club when his record towards garnering a championship is no better than Marty's. And for the record, I'm no fan of Marty so it isn't a loyalty thing for me..


    Is AJ a better than average GM? Yeah, I'd say so. But I'll also say that I don't think he really has much of a clue about what it will take to get a Lombardi in the San Diego clubhouse. Maybe he brought that jinx from Buffalo with him.

    His dealings, by a LOT of accounts, with players & personnel make him sound like the kind of guy who has very limited room for compromise. Maybe it's all sour grapes but at some point you have to wonder. So yeah - I'm making a judgment call that his crap stinks just like anyone else's.

    I'll ask again to anyone who cares to answer - how has AJ gotten us any closer to a ring than Marty? Yes - I know we've won a couple of playoff games since Marty's departure. Neither AJ nor Marty has gotten us all of the way. So, IMO, his legacy is no better than Marty's & he's had longer to make it happen.

    It's going to be very, very interesting to see what he does in this draft. It will say a lot about just how much confidence he really has in his plan.
     
  22. MasterOfPuppets

    MasterOfPuppets Charger fan since 1979

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    Chargers before AJ: crap, fans would kill for a .500 season

    Chargers with AJ: playoffs almost every year, one of the top rated teams and a superbowl contender, fans are angry if the Chargers don't win a superbowl

    So...

    Chargers with AJ >>>>>>>>> Chargers before AJ

    That's the end of my argument
     
    • Like Like x 1
  23. coachmarkos

    coachmarkos BoltTalker

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    yep. AJ skipped out on charm school, so people don't like him. He was probably out scouting a damned game!
     
  24. Savage Lizard

    Savage Lizard Charger fan at 7000'

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    Amen! We'd ALL like a Super Bowl championship, but this "Smith is dog-sh*t unless he wins a Lombardi" line of thinking is just silly. Who is floating around out there available to us who would be better?
     
  25. Trumpet_Man

    Trumpet_Man Well-Known Member

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    The article points out the Chargers are the only team to play in a divisional round in the last 4 years.

    A.J. is about to over take Sid Freaking Gilman in total wins in a shorter period of time (9 years or maybe 10 years versus 12 years for Gilman). Did I mention this was Sid Freaking Gilman? The same Sid Gilman who caught everyone with their pants down with our style of offense (which helped Gilman's win stats).

    I think some of you have a hard time dealing with a hard *** manager who has no problem telling you if you are a professional piece of **** or you are praise worthy. You all know the type if you have held a job.

    The other type of manager puts his arm around you calling you friend while stabbing you in the back.

    I prefer the former versus the latter. At least you know where you stand. That is better than a knife in the back.

    If the players, agents or fans do not like it - F-THEM. This is a business.

    There are "reasons" and "results" as my old boss use to tell me and guess what he wanted ?
     
  26. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

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    Again - Marty could win regular season games but not championships.

    Sounds kinda like our GM, no? :icon_finger:

    Find where I said he was dogshit. You can't because I said he's a better than average GM. I said that I believe he thinks his **** doesn't stink.

    His legacy here is no better than Marty's if he doesn't get us more than regular season wins.
     

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